RCIA 237-240: Renewal of Baptismal Promises

img_6803Let’s look at the rubric first, noting that this renewal only takes place at the Easter Vigil. When baptism, confirmation, and First Eucharist are celebrated at another time, this renewal is not used:

237. After the celebration of baptism, the celebrant addresses the community, in order to invite those present to the renewal of their baptismal promises; the candidates for reception into full communion join the rest of the community in this renunciation of sin and profession of faith. All stand and hold lighted candles.

A few things to note:

– This renewal takes place after Confirmation, if we go by the book.

– Even though candidates for full communion are included in this renewal of promises, some communities do not receive baptized Christians at this time. My present parish does not, and I think this works better liturgically and pastorally. The rite still gives the option to include them. (see RCIA 562ff.)

– The candles are lit for this renewal. I wish there were some convenient and non-distracting way to effect this. I have yet to find it.

The assembly will renew baptismal promises (RCIA 238-239) as the elect made them earlier in the rite. Then we have the Easter Vigil Sprinkling with Baptismal Water:

240. The celebrant sprinkles all the people with the blessed baptismal water, while all sing the following song or any other that is baptismal in character.

I saw water flowing
from the right side of the temple, alleluia.
It brought God’s life and his salvation,
and the people sang in joyful praise:
alleluia, alleluia.

The allusion is Ezekiel 47:1-2, 9. The rite does call for a song, and often is presumes a psalm. This Ezekiel text is a favorite of mine. A budding composer probably works through familiar texts like the Lord’s Prayer, the Mass Ordinary, the Ave Maria, and Psalm 23. I would say this text deserves to be up in that territory. Vidi Aquam, if your bent is traditional or classical.

Unless one of the baptismal acclamations in RCIA 595-597 is used or developed for this, I would assume a Scripture-based text or a psalm is the intention. Water in a title of a song isn’t always key. I know an otherwise nice hymn like “Come to the Water” is used for the Sprinkling Rite. Better would be a song that reflected baptismal faith, like something based on Matthew 28 or Ephesians 4. On the other hand, the image of thirsting for God is part of the Easter Vigil in Psalm 42. So maybe you don’t need to be as finicky as I.

The presider concludes the sprinkling with a brief prayer, and I’m sure, all can breathe a sigh of relief. From here on out, everything at Mass looks just like a normal Sunday, only with extra decorations and lots of First Communions.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in post-conciliar liturgy documents, RCIA, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to RCIA 237-240: Renewal of Baptismal Promises

  1. sheercy says:

    please help me in my project,.its all about the renewal rites of baptism…can u please help me enumerate what are the rites in renewal of baptism??

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